Home > Linux > Two Linuxes for Newcomers Two Linuxes for Newcomers Eugenia Loli 2004-09-26 Linux 40 Comments Xandros Desktop and Lycoris Desktop/LX want to power your next PC. Are they up to the task? About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 40 Comments 2004-09-26 10:21 pm Gnome really IS the best choice for newbies any more. I still see alot of newbie distros choosing KDE, and people recomending it to new comers, but honestly, I can’t see why these days. Ive felt Gnome is the choice for newbs since 2.4… 2004-09-26 10:41 pm I strongly believe that Xandros is more marketing than anything else. Yes, the first experience is pleasant (loads easily, looks easy to use), however as soon as you start doing serious stuff with it, it breaks very easily. I pretty much installed it and then upgraded to regular Debian tree. Or is it just meant to be a Sarge installer 😉 2004-09-26 11:02 pm “KDE really IS the best choice for newbies any more.” Why? The author pointed out why he thought Gnome was the better choice, and I thought they were good reasons, but why do you think KDE is? 2004-09-26 11:03 pm …and Ubuntu is really easy to use. Very well presented distro with a good layout. My non-technical father is using it. 2004-09-26 11:19 pm Unfortunately Ubuntu isn’t working near 100% out of the box for everyone yet. It is a preview release, but it does need a lot of work. Still though, Ubuntu seems to be Gnome in it’s intended form, and I’m excited about it’s future. I definitely think it’s simplicity demonstrates why Gnome is more user friendly, but to each their own, KDE obviously has it’s advantages. Personally I prefer Enlightenment and PekWM. 2004-09-26 11:19 pm Before I start..its amazing how many things turn into gnome vs kde isn’t it? Ok..so I noticed something recently. I have used both DE’s and programmed for both. KDE has some really advanced technologies and is a _very_ nice programming environment. Gnome has techs that KDE doesn’t as well, but I really think KDE is in the lead here. However, I use GNOME…why? Because KDE’s UI seems cluttered to me and it is too bright. All the colors are SO bright and the buttons are so close together. The programs are also harder to use. There are more options..300 ways to do everything (yes I know..overstatement). I recently installed linux on a long-time windows user’s comp. I installed SuSe on it. He liked it, but I had to do almost everything for the guy. At some point, I decided to screw it and install Debian..sure it didn’t have the nice config tools SuSe did..but I was doing the all the config anyway and I knew a lot more about debian. Along with this change in distro, I installed GNOME. The strangest thing happened. The guy started using the gnome-system-tools..he started doing things by himself. He later asked me why I had installed the first thing at all? Hell, he even found epiphany by himself and started a conversation with me about the bookmark scheme they used. Now, this does not mean KDE sucks, but they really need to work on ease of use. Cut down on the number of ways to do something PLEASE. I know KDE4 is doing this, but it is really needed. 2004-09-26 11:50 pm i keep Gnome, KDE, ICEwm, blackbox, WIndowMaker, xfce4, i favour xfce4, and am indifferent for the rest, i keep em installed to let windows users see the choices of desktop environments/WMs Linux offers… Gnome is fine, KDE is fine too. for those that want a more full featured desktop, the rest are nice and light… 2004-09-26 11:50 pm but lately it seems most distros seems to concentrate on either newbies, and maintenance updates, rather than hardware optimization. Besides Yoper, Arch, and Crux, (which seem to be a one-man show) are there any other distro optimized for P4/i686/Xeon, and NOT listed on distrowatch. Yes, I know about gentoo, but I refuse to be hyptonized by the new-geek-peer-pressure-barometer. TIA 2004-09-27 12:06 am At the risk of getting flamed, I wonder why anyone in the market segment being targeted by these types of newbie distros would actually pay money to try Linux. My perception (and maybe I’m wrong here) is that John & Jane Doe’s motivation to try something new that they aren’t comfortable with like Linux would somehow involve the fact that it’s free (as in the real definition when talking about a commodity). I’m all for paying for a good thing when I’m sure I’ll use it, but I wouldn’t have even bothered to try Linux if I couldn’t have burned an ISO for free. But maybe that’s just me… cheap. 2004-09-27 12:10 am Gentoo isn’t the “latest geek fad”, its really an awsome distro, one of the top ones. All the advantages of Debian, combined with all the advantages of having all your software compiled for your system, and Gentoo’s signature use flag system. You end up with an advnaced, yet wonderfully trouble free system. I don’t mean to sound like a Gentoo evangalist, but you aren’t giving it a fair shake. 2004-09-27 12:14 am no flames from me, you ask a honest and legit question, there are people that are on a 56k dialup and can not possibly download ISOs to burn, and buying a boxed retail distro offers printed documentation & support that can be quite helpfull to a newbie too… 2004-09-27 12:53 am Nah. I don’t think it’s cheap. I’m in a bit of the same situation as you. I’m not married to any one distro. And, I can’t afford to throw $35 or more toward every new distro I try. I switch pretty regularly. In the past, I have bought and paid for a couple of distros. And, I will pay again. But, I’m kinda hanging out to see which one I can live with over the long run. In the meantime, people who don’t pay are keeping the interest and motivation factors high and increasing. That provides Linux momentum and will help generate revenue by other people buying or other means. 2004-09-27 1:53 am Gentoo: I haven’t been able to use Gentoo because I’m on dialup, but I have installed it once for the hell of learning. It seems to me that once is fine, but if you have to reinstall it would start to get annoying. That and I imagine spending so much time compiling would get old, and that is in fact what you hear from a lot of people. But then, a lot of people stick with it too. Yoper: It’s very this is what you’re getting, live with it. Now I was fine with that in Ubuntu because everything was cohesive, but Yoper felt like a mess to me. Sure it was fast, but the KDE implementation didn’t seem very refined, cluttered in fact. They are taking on more developers, though, so it’s not really the one man show anymore. Crux: This is a one developer distribution if I’ve ever seen one (maybe there are a couple, I’m not sure). The packages are what the developer uses, and while there are a few others available, you REALLY have to know what you’re doing to get anything done. Arch: This is what I use primarily, and it’s philosophies are actually based on the Crux philosophies. You do have to have a pretty good idea of what you’re doing, and the community is typically somewhat erudite, and won’t be all that happy to help if you don’t try to help yourself first. Things aren’t done automatically, but most things are simplified with minimalism. This spans from the BSD style init scripts to the Apt like package manager which leaves most of the configuration to you. It’s great, it really is. I went into this distribution three months ago not quite grasping how Linux worked, and now I feel like I’ve gotten a handle on it, though I obviously have a long way to mastery. Also, it is in fact very refined, the features that it has work very well, and packages breaking is rare. It has a decent sized team of developers, and it’s definitely growing. 2004-09-27 1:56 am Oh, and I know you asked for other examples, but the ones you mentioned are the better ones that I’ve tried (as far as i686). 2004-09-27 3:44 am That require doing a fresh install without reading the install manual! “Xandros doesn’t know how to shrink a Windows NTFS partition to make room for itself on my hard drive.” ? Xandros can strink a NTFS partition. 1. That feature only comes in the Deluex and Business editions. 2. YOU have to use the advance install not the exspress like this guy was using. How can you know the OS for not being able to do something the user did not read up on??? On top of that Windows can’t resize anything. Not even NTFS partitions! Come on. 2004-09-27 4:39 am One thing that annoys me about linux installs is their inability to resize ntfs. I’ve used qtparted on the “system rescue cd” several times to resize ntfs with no problems — it even works on ntfs partitions that have data at the end… something that Mandrake can’t even do. Since most people checking out Linux for the first time have a single large ntfs partition, why can’t newbie-oriented distros implement the already-good tools for resizing that partition? There is no good excuse that I can think of. 2004-09-27 5:45 am I ordered 10 free cds off their web site. You go there, put your name and address in and how many CDs you want and they’ll mail em out to you. I only needed 1 but they suggest you don’t ask for less than 10 and just give the ones you don’t want to your friends. 2004-09-27 6:15 am No, Windows doesn’t allow you to convert ntfs to anything else, or to resize the partitions. It also doesn’t even allow you to make space at the end of your ntfs partition in order to resize it. This makes sense, as they have a business interest in locking the end-users into Windows. Duh. On the other hand, Linux distros have an interest in having a smooth installation experience for the end users of their distributions. Safe NTFS resizing is possible, as I pointed out — all it would take would be some integration with the installer. Mandrake, Fedora, SuSE, and Debian all don’t do this properly, while QTParted does. Perhaps Xandros Deluxe does, but since it’s a pay-only distro I don’t know if it has the same failings as the Mandrake/SuSE ntfs reizers. My point was that ntfs resizing is a huge detraction to the end-user Linux installation experience, one that is common to all of the major distributions and yes, the distribution reviewed in the article. But what do I know, I’m just a retard. 2004-09-27 7:51 am This is becoming a bit too much off-topic perhaps, but I was very pleased to see QTParted was a part of the Yoper installation process when I tried it a couple of days ago (the rest of the distro isn’t for me, but the installation was pretty easy!) 2004-09-27 8:56 am If you want to resize a ntfs partition,i presume you have a windows box, it’s one of those occasions where i would use partition magic or one of the like, propietary or not it get’s the job done fast and error free. Mostly i install XP-professional first and have with a good planning and knowing what i want later on never a need for further resizing or whatever.I can install a 100 times a different linux distro, as long as it has the Grub or lilo bootloader i can allways boot XP, or restore the mbr from recovery under XP. 2004-09-27 11:41 am When I edited /etc/apt/sources.list to only use real debian repositories, it completely broke my Xandros installation. Lycoris, is another non-free linux. I suspect Lycoris may also play the vendor lock in game. To me, it seems that much of the appeal of linux, is to avoid the msft-like, proprietary, vendor lock-in game. 2004-09-27 2:18 pm What is the distinction between ix86 chips ie what im asking is what is an i686 and what is an i586 I assume a P4 is i686 but is an Athlon XP? and whats a celeron? as its based on a P3 so is it 5 or 6? ive been using ppc for so long that its only now linux is making me learn the distinction 2004-09-27 2:40 pm Again another person who did not read their user manual. If you read it or even the article this post is about you will see there are Debian repositories that are not hosted or managed by Xandros that you can use with Xandros. You don’t edit the /etc/apt/sources file, you open Xandros networks (Which is the Xandros update tool)go to edit, Set Application Sources. From there you can add Debian unsupported sites. The reason Xandros does it that way because it has custom changes. The biggest being that they don’t use the KDE filemanager/web browser. Using the Xandros networks it does better at seeing what you have so when you update from Debian unsupported sites the updates won’t break the OS. 2004-09-27 3:46 pm i386 and i486 are obvious, since the processors were marketed by the same name, but with i586 Intel began marketing the Pentium (pent…five). Usually people say the first i686 was the Pentium2, but I THINK the Pentium Pro MAY have been, I’m really not sure though. There are, of course, other flags for Pentium 3, Pentium 4, Athlon, and AMD64; but you can’t really use those unless you’re compiling for a very closed set of machines. All Celerons are i686 at the least, as are all Athlons/Durons/Semprons. 2004-09-27 3:54 pm Okay, in simplest terms, Pentium = i586 Pentium II through Pentium IV = i686 AMD Athlon 32 or 64 (running 32-bit OS) = i686 or K7 AMD Athlon 64 (running 64-bit OS) = K8 Could somebody double-check the K7 and K8 settings for Athlons? I think I have those right, but I’m not 100% positive. And of course, any of these chips can run i386 or i 486 packages. 2004-09-27 4:14 pm You can use a lot of Caldera Open Linux, Mandrake and RedHat/Fedora rpms on Lycoris Desktop/LX. They do provide their own rpms that are configured specifically for their architecture though. There is no “Vendor Lock In”. 2004-09-27 4:53 pm All 2.6 kernel based distro (using parted) had the potential partition table corruption problem (Mandrake, Fedora, SUSE, Debian Sarge still has, Yoper, etc). The issue is filesystem independent (happens with FAT32 too and can cause damaged ext3, etc partitions too by shifting the partition start or end due to the bogus cylinder boundary alignement by the incorrect geometry change). Since 10.1, Mandrake is also using the improved ntfsresize (http://mlf.linux.rulez.org/mlf/ezaz/ntfsresize.html) so it can resize NTFS without defragmentation. SUSE 9.1 already used the enhanced ntfsresize but it was also hit by the repartitioning bug in parted and the kernel. Red Hat/Fedora always had poor support for dual booters and given that these users aren’t their target users, nobody should expect changes here in the near future. The free Xandros version also started to include a “licensed, closed source, proprietary PQDisk which is a scriptable version of PowerQuest’s PartitionMagic. […] Note, there were several reports that the NTFS partition couldn’t be resized occasionally due to a PQDisk bug.” http://forums.xandros.com/viewtopic.php?t=8378 http://forums.xandros.com/viewtopic.php?t=3755 And from Xandros site: http://support.xandros.com/kb-view.php?topic=45 Why cant I resize my NTFS partition? 06th of January 2004 01:29:02 PM Due to a bug in the pqdisk software, systems with a Secondary IDE controller or Serial ATA (SATA) controller are unable to resize NTFS partitions. Mandrake, SUSE, Yoper, SystemRescueCD and the other dozen distro using the free, open source NTFS resizer don’t have these problems. 2004-09-27 6:49 pm Xandros is not ready for prime-time. It’s easy to install and has some nice features, but I’ve had lots of problems with it that I didn’t have with v 1.0 (same computer; same configuation). Mozilla always locks up within 30 seconds; Opera won’t start up at all, and upgrading from v 2.0 Deluxe to 2.5 broke the LILO, which prevented me from starting either OS (WinXP or Xandros). I fixed it by reinstalling Xandros, but now I’m afraid to do any upgrades. It also would only see one partition on my 2nd hard drive. When it’s working right, it’s probably a good choice for a corporate desktop OS. It’s intuitive and easy to learn for Windows users. It’s also fairly boring, which isn’t necessarily a fault on a corporate OS. It has no native DVD burner, although with a few modifications, you can download and install K3B. Their e-mail support system is fair, albeit extremely slow for the first 60 days. I got a reply from them approximately once every 3 weeks. Official support after the 60 days is non-existent, and Xandros forums is a mixed bag. 2004-09-27 7:00 pm To have one, you would need to be able to install apps and libraries without learning a number of cryptic build commands and package systems. Not using dpkg, rpm or ebuilds, but just installing libraries/apps, like you do with OS X or even Windows. If you don’t believe it’s a problem that needs to be fixed, merely read the discussion about adding bindings to GNOME into the core project linked in the GNUstep and FOX releases story. The main reason FOR it is that distro’s won’t package them UNLESS they’re required, and the right now normal users can NOT install them on their own. And that completely discounts the fact that people want apps now, not when their distro deems them “packagable.” Click’N’Run and Apt/yum are only small bandaids that don’t even touch on the large, hemoraging problems that have existed for years. KDE or GNOME need to support something like AppDirs or something that lets the normal user install apps and libraries without going through the filter of a distro, or there isn’t a Linux desktop. Just disconnected server OSes that try, painfully, to emulate a desktop OS. 2004-09-27 7:18 pm Keep hearing about how great linux this and linux that is. Linux is a pile of shit. I’ve been using linux for nearly 3 years starting with RedHat 6.1 and there is always something that does not work. All these linux punks keep coming up with is well, windows gets viruses, they are working on it, blah blah blah. bottom line is linux is decent on the server but it sucks, totally sucks on the desktop, especially the laptop. Always something not working, modem suddenly disappears, desktop config changes for no reason, face it, windows xp has got linux beat by a minimum of 3 generations. I hate microsoft, but if i want to be productive, i will pick windows 95 and up over linux any day of the year. LINUX SUCKS! 2004-09-27 8:08 pm As far as I know, nothing is stopping developers from packaging their applications so that they just need to be extracted into a single directory in /opt or /usr/local (a few larger projects do). I do think it’s better policy to let distributors handle packaging, however, since it’s not only more secure, but makes better use of the filesystem than, say, c:program files or stuffing everything in /opt. My very personal view is that all the average user need do is choose a distribution which best matches their philosophy, and their package needs will be taken care of by the distribution. If someone knows enough to recognize that they want something slightly different, then they’re capable of learning how to ./configure, make, and make install. If they have that need and don’t learn, then they’re probably too accustomed to convenience and need to stop being so damned lazy. But again, that’s my personal opinion, and I’ll admit that the Linux community isn’t quite mature enough for the average user to best match to a distribution. 2004-09-27 8:09 pm What exactly did you have to produce that you could afford to call 95 productive? Official BSOD frequency counters or an ON/OFF switch tester. If MS had to pay 1% of a cent for every BSOD they would have been out of business a long time ago. 98SE, 2K, XP are a different story, and should not be placed in the same category as 3.1, 95, and 98. As Dr. Ruth with say, different strokes for different folks. 2004-09-27 8:30 pm more than you’d think. The arch support is a little more complex than distrowatch shows. I know Red Hat compile with i386 *support* but i686 *optimisations* – this means the code will run on i385 but takes advantage of almost all the features you can get on i686 – there wouldn’t be much advantage in dropping i386 support. Mandrake uses a mix for different packages; the whole distro will work on i586 but there are i686-optimised versions of a few specific libraries that are used by default on i686 and up processors. I think other distros take a similar approach. In any case, for almost all code, optimising above i586 really has very little effect. The only things that take a significant gain are certain types of graphics operations and media encoding / decoding; decoding isn’t much of an issue as modern processors are way more powerful than it needs. Encoding is therefore the big thing, but that’s not a major issue for most people. If you really need your DVD ripping sped up, rebuild your xvid libraries from the .src.rpm… 2004-09-27 8:32 pm I’ve no idea what the answer is, but there’s gotta be one, as neither company has 0 revenue… 2004-09-27 8:43 pm How does qtparted deal with ntfs drives with data at the end? Does it defrag them or something? Because the actual partition resize tool that’s below anything that uses linux to resize ntfs partitions (from the ntfs4linux project) can’t deal with that situation as far as I’m aware. 2004-09-27 8:46 pm ooh, I missed that new ntfsresize. spanky. guess I don’t install on enough XP boxen 2004-09-27 9:01 pm mandrake has a large variety of GNOME language binding packages in main and contrib, not just the core ones. I believe Debian also has just about everything packaged. 2004-09-28 9:22 am Cheers for clearing up i ix86 numbering for me 2004-09-28 11:59 am Man people act as if Windows was never a DOG! Like at one point Microsoft didn’t have Windows 3.1, 95, 98 and ME! 3 Sorry, insecure pieces of CRAP! In reality Windows XP is MS’s first OS that was really worth anything! The only one that has any sence of security, doesn’t have to be rebooted every time you install software, doesn’t crash out the blue on a regular and doesn’t have to be defraged as much. NT SUCKED! 2000 is not much better! I work in an all 2000 shop and we have more problems! Spyware is out of control! Worms and bugs, patch fixes like it’s going out of style! The other thing is people forget the fact that hardware vendors make drivers for their hardware to work with Windows. Not all hardware works with Windows out the box. And those things that do work, work because people have submitted drivers to Microsofts driver database. Once venders start making drivers for Linux then we will see what people will have to say then. 2004-09-28 5:35 pm so shore up your policies. why the hell do you allow anyone enough privileges to get spyware onto their system in the first place?